A rebellious youth, sentenced to a boy's reformatory for robbing a bakery, rises through the ranks of the institution through his prowess as a long distance runner. During his solitary runs... See full summary »
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Eva Marie Saint,
A rebellious youth, sentenced to a boy's reformatory for robbing a bakery, rises through the ranks of the institution through his prowess as a long distance runner. During his solitary runs, reveries of his life and times before his incarceration lead him to re-evaluate his privileged status as the Governor's prize runner. Written by
When the boys are doing gardening work one character calls another "you mug" (meaning gullible idiot). This is incorrectly recorded in the subtitles as "you muppet" but the word "muppet" - meaning an idiot - was not in use when the film was made. See more »
Running was always a big thing in our family, specially running away from the police. It's hard to understand. All I know is that you've got to run, running without knowing why, through fields and woods. And the winning post's no end, even though the barmy crowds might be cheering themselves daft. That's what the loneliness of a long distance runner feels like.
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I recently watched this movie again on TV. The wonderful performances by Tom
Courtenay and Michael Redgrave have not diminished with time. The movie is
also full of technical innovations at the time. One of these is common today, a fast switching between the two time frames of the story. The life of the hero in a quasi-prison and the family life that led to his capture and conviction. The movie also predates the current of "Angry Young Men" that was to be so prolific in
British Cinema. Others have remarked on the wondrous scenes of Courtenay
running in open countryside as he trains for a long distance competition. The accompaniment of a jazz trumpet also fit well. But to me the core of the movie is the rage of the hero towards the "establishment" beautifully symbolized by
Michael Redgrave's Headmaster. Don't miss this movie if you have a chance.
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